Integration of One Health into the field-based learning

On September 24-27, 2013 the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University organized a field-based activity for Master and Ph.D. students from the Faculties of Tropical Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Veterinary Science/Medicine, and Environmental and Resource Studies. Members of the USAID-RESPOND team, Ms. Amy Pekol and Dr. Karin Hamilton from the University of Minnesota, also joined the activity. The main goals for this field trip were: 1) for participants to gain a better understanding of the meaning and practice of One Health competencies, 2) explore tropical medicine issues in the village of Ampur Sai-Yok, Kanchanaburi, and 3) work in interdisciplinary teams to understand and address the various community health problems.

Students worked in groups to develop assessment and diagnostic plans to address community problems related to health. In order to obtain in-depth knowledge related to health situations in the community, they interviewed villagers, visited local clinics and hospitals, and collected water, stool and insect samples. The qualitative and quantitative data together with the samples collected were aimed to determine main health issues in the study site and then provide recommendations to improve community health.

Apart from being one of the successful cases of university collaboration and faculty development, the field experience also allowed Mahidol University’s faculty members an opportunity to translate their OHCC knowledge into practice by integrating it into the existing curriculum. The students were assessed for their development of OHCC skills (collaboration and partnership, communication, management, culture and beliefs, value and ethics, leadership, and systems thinking) with standardized rubrics before and after learning the modified course. As a result from of partaking in different types of activities during the three-day field trip experience, the students had shown improvements their skills of all OHCCs.